As a real estate professional, your goal is to sell your clients’ homes at top dollar. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you have faced some uphill battles trying to convince sellers to spend money on your home staging and selling tips.
Short of volunteering to put on painter overalls and climb a ladder with paint rollers, there’s not much you can do about the homeowner’s choice of paint colors. However, you can do your homework ahead of time to provide clients with a list of reputable local painters, roofers, and other contractors to help them do quick fixes and facelifts. And although we wouldn’t go so far as to suggest you mow your client’s lawn, you can take it upon yourself to help in small ways without imposing or insulting the homeowner.
Talk about the listing price
One of the fastest ways to convince your client to stage their home is to show them the potential increase in their property’s list price that the improvements can bring. Another option is to explain how they would recoup an investment on improvements and staging. The best value you can bring to your client is to steer them to improvements that will yield the best return. To this point, an article by forbes.com says a homeowner who replaces a steel entry door will recoup 101.8 percent of the cost, which is about $1,200. Although they won’t recoup as much money with items such as manufactured stone veneer exterior, a garage door replacement, or wooden deck addition, it’s still a fairly high average at between 80 and 92 percent.
Let homeowners know how you would adjust the list price based on specific upgrades you identify as high priorities to motivate them toward completing those upgrades as part of staging preparation. Professionals who can successfully walk sellers through a pricing exercise, showing them how to list their home at a higher price, will set themselves apart from other real estate agents. Happy homeowners who made greater profit by following your upgrade and staging recommendations will also gain you more referrals and repeat business.
Paint the picture for the seller
Some sellers don’t realize how important it is to stage a home until you have them walk through their own home pretending to be a potential buyer. Looking at their own home through a stranger’s eyes motivates them to remove family photographs and pick up clutter to help buyers picture how they could live in the home.
To help sellers visualize what a staged house looks like, show them before and after pictures from other staged homes. You can also show examples of the styles or colors you would recommend using by creating idea boards for them on Pinterest.com or Houzz.com. If you have them available, try bringing in a few “show-and-tell” staging props that the seller can borrow.
Build up the pain
People tend to either avoid pain or gravitate toward pleasure. Talking about the money they can make by staging and decorating a home is the way to build up pleasure. Talking about how not staging or failing to make improvements can cost you a sale or leave you with low bids is a way to build up the pain.
Experts say sellers do pay the price when they fail to make repairs. First, houses that don’t show well sit on the market longer or become stale. Next, potential buyers offer less money at the negotiation table because they can point out the problems. Also, the inspection will bring to light even minor repairs, which also gives the buyer more bargaining leverage.
If your seller doesn’t make any moves to buy decorative pillows, candles, art or accessories, bring in a few staging props. Most sellers will be more than happy for their agent to make small improvements. After showing a seller what’s possible, you could inspire them to take staging to the next level.
Try lending the seller potted plants to place at the entryway. Decorative pillows and decorative baskets are small but effective ways to accent areas of the room. If the house in question has a lot of dark colors, bring in accessories that will make the space seem light and bright. Don’t be afraid to burn scented candles in pleasing aromas such as lavender, vanilla, or apple.
Bringing in staging props is also important when photographing the home for the listing or taping the virtual tour. Share your home selling tips with your clients, but also show them how to get started.
Staging pays off
According to a survey by The National Association of Realtors cited by an article in tennessean.com, home staging is on the rise. The survey found 34 percent of agents representing sellers stage any home they list, while 13 percent only stage the ones that are hard to sell. And more than 50 percent of the real estate professionals surveyed said staged homes sell for more money, which estimates range from a 1 to 20 percent increase.